Yoel Romero
Soldier Of God

Cuba

Bellator signing official
Light HeavyweightBellator
December 14, 2020
Romero has signed with Bellator MMA and will compete at light heavyweight with a 2021 debut in sight, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Initial reports suggested that Bellator was not interested in the former UFC middleweight, but with Romero seemingly willing to move to light heavyweight, the two sides were ultimately able to come to terms. Romero was surprisingly released from the UFC earlier this month, as he was a highly-regarded middleweight and former title contender. He had been on a bit of a rough patch -- losing four of his last five fights -- so the UFC took this as an opportunity to part ways. Even at 43 years old, however, Romero will presumably enter as a betting favorite against many light heavyweights on the Bellator roster. He still has one-punch knockout power, as well as a highly-respected wrestling game to fall back on.
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Released by UFC
Light HeavyweightBellator
December 4, 2020
Romero (undisclosed) and the UFC parted ways Friday, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Romero still had three fights remaining on his current contract with the UFC, but he'll now have to search for a new promotion. He was scheduled to fight Uriah Hall in late August, but he was forced to withdraw for an undisclosed reason. Romero carries a 13-5 record as a professional fighter, most recently losing to Israel Adesanya via unanimous decision at UFC 248, as he fell short of the UFC Middleweight Championship as a result.
Out of Hall fight
Light HeavyweightBellator
August 11, 2020
Romero will not fight Uriah Hall at the UFC event on August 22, BJPenn.com reports.
ANALYSIS
There was no reason given as to why Romero pulled out, but he'll now have to search elsewhere for an opponent to hopefully put an end to his three-fight losing streak. Rumors have also been active that Romero is pondering a late-career move up to light heavyweight -- he certainly has the frame to do so -- but nothing official has been confirmed by his camp. Meanwhile, Uriah Hall has been scheduled for a matchup against Anderson Silva on Oct. 31.
Date set for Hall fight
Light HeavyweightBellator
June 24, 2020
Romero is expected to take on Uriah Hall in a middleweight matchup at a yet-to-be-determined location August 22, Damon Martin of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Even though Romero is just 1-4 in his last five bouts, three of those were title fights and each of those matchups were incredibly close. He'll finally get a step back in competition this time around, though he'll face in fighter in Hall who has won three of his last four. Hall will also enter with a six-inch reach advantage. Despite the fact that Romero turned 43 years old in April, look for him to enter this matchup as the betting favorite.
Verbal agreement for August fight
Light HeavyweightBellator
June 16, 2020
Romero and Uriah Hall have verbally agreed to an August bout at Middleweight, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
There is not a specific date or location at this point, but it is expected to be in August. Romero last fought back in early March when he fell to Israel Adesanya via unanimous decision.
Hopes for quick turnaround
Light HeavyweightBellator
March 10, 2020
Romero is hoping to return to the Octagon in 12 weeks, his manage Ibrahim Kawa told Steven Marrocco of MMAFighting.com.
ANALYSIS
Understanding that UFC President Dana White is unlikely to award Romero another title shot in 2020 following his lackluster defeat at UFC 248, the fighter's camp appears content to settle for "gatekeeper" status -- at least for the time being. Kawa doesn't believe that anyone else in the middleweight division will be able to get through Romero, and with another string of knockouts, the 42-year-old will be back in the title conversation. While his leg appeared to take quite a bit of damage in last Saturday's main event, he's back to jogging according to his personal Instagram, and was even seen walking and dancing at his afterparty. Romero was not mentioned in the official UFC 248 medical suspensions (per MMAFighting.com), so it appears there is no technical roadblock to achieving this goal.